LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures
How you ever seen a grown man openly blubbing? I have: it was me. I was at Steve's 21st birthday party, and I was knelt like a penitent man in front of the assembled PC staff. I was weeping halfdrunk and incoherently demanding that it should be me that reviews LEGO Indiana Jones - after all, I am the most qualified of the team. I own a bone fide, as-used-in-the-films, fine leather jacket, but I can admit that Temple of Doom is complete shit. What better credentials could you want than that? The team succumbed to my ignoble pleas, and granted me the boon of being the first to play this wonder of a game. Thankfully, the cost to my dignity was worth it.
Raiders Of The Brick Lego
Indiana Jones follows pretty much exactly in the footsteps of the muchloved LEGO Star Wars games, with Indy being followed about by one or two Al cohorts (or a second player if you know a real-life person) as he works his way through the three films, with endless bits of junk to collect and sections to revisit for the console completists and their so-called achievements.
The stories are told through flailing arms and grunts rather than dialogue and if you somehow haven't seen the films I think it's fair to say they won't really make any sense whatsoever - the scene at the start of Last Crusade where Donovan unveils the broken stone tablet being a particularly baffling example of mime gone wrong. But by and large the cutscenes are directed with such a passion for the source material it's hard to fault them.
Where LEGO Indy is at its most charming is where it subverts the movies: it's in tiny little comic touches and minor deviations from the storyline, and somehow it feels fresh and unexpected in those scenes you know inside out - bluffing your way into Castle Brunwald in The Last Crusade being a particular highlight.
Sadly, this works both ways and Traveller's Tales seem to have gone slightly over-the-top in terms of which bits of the films to re-imagine. Anyone hoping for a cutesy, brick-by-brick recreation of the iconic South American temple from Raiders will be sobbing into their special edition Crystal Skull Corn Flakes - the chamber with the golden statue you're so desperate to explore in LEGO style has been replaced by a sprawling mess of rotating floating platforms with plastic alligators underneath. Of all the bits not to reimagine, I'd say that's number one.
Oddly, Temple of Doom comes out as the strongest section of game - the wide variety of locations giving it a slight edge over the other two, which are mainly just dusty. Also, there's probably a joke to be made here about the acting being less plastic than the film, or something.
Bricks Of Doom
Visuals are gorgeous through-and-through, and there's real charm to the animation. Having brick people, brick vehicles and brick structures against more traditional gaming backdrops does irk, but Indy and co. bound about the place with all the enthusiasm and charisma expected of them, and the way Indy's dad runs while holding his hat is spot on. In fact all the characters are brilliantly realised and look uncannily similar to Ford et al, despite only a having a few blobs of ink for a face. As a result you play the game with a permanent slack-jawed grin as the pretty and vibrant colours arouse your eyes and your ears tingle as that classic score kicks in. The vast majority of the game is puzzle-solving and platform shenanigans, with baddies like the Nazis-in-all-but-name turning up for a scuffle every once in a while. You can pick up furniture and brawl with it shoot guns, or rely on your whip and fists, but there's nothing like the satisfying chime after hitting a non-Nazi in the chops with a shovel.
Sadly, combat is perpetually clunky, with all on-screen characters generally running about the place and flailing wildly until everyone breaks into tiny little bits. There's no finesse to it despite a variety of visually exciting moves to keep it looking nice - Willie Scott's girly, wiggling outstretched arms being a classic example.
One of the game's core flaws is that it has been designed to be played with a gamepad. If you're relying on your keyboard you're in for a headache -jumping around pressure-sensitive pads successfully or finding the right angle to push heavy objects is akin to the frustration of getting one of those flat two-by-one pieces off a six-by-two brick with your canine teeth.
Even if you've got that gamepad, LEGO Indy can be a smidge fiddly - it can be difficult to judge jumps properly due to perspective, which can irritate when you've got to retry a particularly lengthy section of puzzles all over again. What's more, vehicles are a proper pain in the tits to drive - except the squeaky pedal bike which is simply hilarious.
Not that any of that really matters - LEGO Indy features the same infinite lives setup as the Star Wars games, meaning plopping into red-hot lava or getting beaten up so much your head falls off never really matters. You can be as rubbish at games as you like, and you'll still be able to plod on through the story sections. To be honest it's nice to play through a game for once without the unmitigated stress of potential death perpetually looming over your shoulder.
Since gaming grew up - and set about proving it by being all about hookers and killing sprees - there's been something missing. LEGO Indy has the same appeal as watching a blue hedgehog race across colourful landscapes collecting shiny things that go ding - old-school, classic, no-nonsense joy based around possibly the finest trilogy of films ever made.
Processor: PC compatible,
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode